Emergency Department Management of Patients with Alcohol Intoxication, Alcohol Withdrawal, and Alcohol Use Disorder: A White Paper Prepared for the American Academy of Emergency Medicine

      Alcohol is the most-used intoxicant in the world, and the repercussions of unhealthy alcohol use are of corresponding magnitude. A six-fold increase in all-cause mortality and six percent of overall deaths are related to the use of alcohol, (1,2) which is the most important risk factor for ill health among working-age people worldwide. (3) Alcohol intoxication (AI) is strongly tied to serious trauma (especially motor vehicle collisions (4)), suicide, (5) domestic abuse and sexual assault, crime, (6) and thousands of Americans die from alcohol poisoning every year. (7) In addition to the myriad medical consequences of chronic alcohol use, addiction to alcohol–suffered by over 14 million Americans (8)–leads to the destruction of relationships, families and social function, including unemployment and homelessness. Mortality among patients with AUD increased by over 20% in 2020 and 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (9,10)
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